Where is Woodland Adventurers?

Woodland Adventurers is located in Box, between Bath (Somerset) and Chippenham (Wiltshire).  Other nearby towns include Batheaston, Bathford, Bradford-on-Avon, Calne, Colerne, Corsham, Devizes, Frome, Malmesbury and Westbury. We have many people visiting from these towns and further afield including Bristol, Warminster, Swindon, Norton Radstock, Keynsham and Glastonbury. 

Details of our location for the majority of our sessions is shown within the 'Locations' section.

What type of clothing is required?

Clothes will generally get muddy, so its a good idea to wear older clothes and certainly clothes that you don't mind getting mucky.  Normally mud will wash out and it gives the washing machine a challenge to make sure it earns its keep!! 

In cooler climate, which can include Autumn, Winter, Spring and sometimes Summer(!) its very important to stay warm.  To do this, lots of layers are best (e.g. 4 layers).  This gives the flexibility for temperature adjustments by removing layers or putting layers back on.  We do a lot of running, then calmer activities, then running and so on as physical activity is the best way of staying warm. 

The wood is raised and drains very well so in terms of footwear, old trainers or hiking / walking boots are best and they enable the children to run with freedom.  Wellies should be considered as additional,for very wet weather and especially for visiting the pigs! 

Waterproofs are always a good idea for wet weather and to protect clothes to some extent from getting wet.  Gloves and hats are also useful.  In fact if you are warm and dry then being out in the rain can be fantastic!

Spare clothes and spare footwear is a good idea.

In warmer weather, especially during the summer months, sun cream / sun protection (e.g. high factor UV sun block) is an important consideration, even on a cloudy day.  Sun hats are also good for hiking and activities away from the trees.

Are there facilities for washing hands?

We have mains running water accessible at various points across our site.  There is also soap available on our site through dispensers.  Running mains water and soap are the best approach to ensuring clean hands.  Therefore we strongly advise against wet wipes as these are less effective and they are extremely negative for the environment.

What are the staff qualifications?

Staff and volunteers (e.g. for work experience) have appropriate background checks prior to supporting Woodland Adventurers (such as clear Enhanced CRB / DBS Disclosures).  Each session will be led by a suitably qualified / experienced leader.  At least one adult present during the session will have an up to date and relevant first aid qualification.

Is it safe?

Risk assessments are carried out and these are reviewed regularly.

Most of the activities take place on the Quarry Hill site in Box.  This location has a boundary around the site which is a mix of different types of physical fencing.  In addition, there is a rope boundary within the wooded areas where the children are instructed to remain within at all times unless accompanied by an adult, for example when the farm animals are fed.  External gates are closed at the start of each session and during the session.  Vehicle movements on site are kept to a minimum during each session and where practicable vehicles are separated from pedestrian areas.

Sometimes groups go for hikes.  On these occasions walking along roads is kept to a minimum and the majority of the walking is in open countryside, along foot paths in fields and woodland.  In all cases the adults will cover the front and rear of the group and regular head counts are carried out.

Many of the activities include a level of risk.  For example, climbing trees, den building (with natural materials like sticks and trees as well as man-made materials like ropes, tarps and pegs), running and walking (on uneven ground where there may be tree roots, logs, sticks, twigs and mud), using a swing, using tools, lighting camp fires, cooking and toasting marshmallows, feeding farm animals. If you consider these types of activities and their inherent risks to be unacceptable for your child / children or group then you and they should not participate. 

The environment, including the wood, paddock / grass areas and countryside, has inherent risks associated as much of the areas are natural terrain where there will be trees, tree roots, branches, logs, sticks, twigs, uneven ground, ditches, mud, tufts of grass etc.  There is an inevitable responsibility on each individual, both children and adults to take responsibility for their own safety as well as that of others.  If you consider this environment to be unacceptable in terms of experience and inherent risks for your child / children or group then you and they should not participate.

Woodland Adventurers aims to provide children with more freedom for natural and good old-fashioned fun in open spaces and to learn in a positive flexible environment - woodland, paddock fields and countryside.  This is not untypical with the activities that many children were allowed to participate in only 10-20 years ago and previous generations and today is much more common place in other European countries in particular Scandinavian countries.  We believe that this freedom enables kids to learn about risk and to learn how to manage their own risk exposure, greatly assisting their development, understanding and perspectives as they grow older into their teens and on to adulthood.

A trained first aider will be present during the session and there is a first aid point in the wooden shelter (identified by a green first aid sign) with a first aid kit.  Mains tap water is also close by to all camp fire areas.  On site there is a mobile phone and emergency contact list for the session.  For hikes, a first aid kit will always be taken with the group, as well as a mobile phone and an emergency contact list - in addition to a trained first aider being present.

For schools and groups: It is the responsibility of the school / group to carry out risk assessments for the site, including the environment, activities as well as arrival and departure procedures, taking into account their group's needs. Any specific risks identified must be communicated in writing to Woodland Adventurers with reasonable advanced timing to enable agreement regarding effective and timely management steps.  It is the responsibility of the school / group to provide adequate adult:child ratios in order to control the group in terms of instructions and safety rules (both written and verbal). It is the responsibility of the school / group to ensure the welfare and well being of their group, including all individuals, at all times.  All school / group staff and volunteers have the authority to stop activities at any time. The school / group is responsible for gaining prior consent from all parents / guardians of children attending the session, including making them fully aware of the environment and types of activities and the school / group are responsible during the session for maintaining fast and easy access to emergency contact details for the children's parents / guardians i.e. telephone contact numbers.

What toilet facilities are there?

Boys are encouraged to use trees away from others, but within the rope boundary.  There is also a 'compost' toilet on site where sawdust is used instead of water!  The use of this toilet is encouraged for sitting use only.  There is often a mix of curiosity and intrigue around the toilet facilities but most find it clean and some even describe it as 'awesome'!

Accessibility for people with special needs?

Woodland Adventurers will do its best to accommodate individuals' specific needs.  If you or someone in your group has a medical condition or special needs then please get in touch to discuss further.

Do I need to complete any paperwork?

There is some paperwork which we aim to keep to a minimum which includes emergency contact details, any relevant medical conditions and more general information.  This paperwork is required for certain sessions only.

Are food and drinks included?

For Birthday Parties - food is included and the details are dependent on the party option chosen.  This is usually along the lines of camp fire food such as hot dogs (sausages such as Lincolnshire, Cumberland or seasoned sausages in bread rolls) or toasted tea cakes, refreshments (squash and biscuits) and marshmallows (which we toast on the camp fire).  Vegetarian and other specific food requirements can be catered for provided sufficient notice is provided - please get in touch.  We also do not recommend additional snack food such as packets of crisps and sweets with wrappers.

For parties and other sessions, refreshments (squash and biscuits) are included.  On some occasions we may cook popcorn or toasted marshmallows or other snacks but this depends on the particular session.  For shorter sessions children are welcome to bring snacks and their own drinks (but NOT fizzy carbonated drinks).  For all day sessions (e.g. Holiday Clubs) children will need a packed lunch and drink ideally in a small ruck sack that enables picnics in the countryside during hikes. 

Note:  Fizzy, carbonated drinks are not advisable for any session due to the potential negative behavioural effects of high levels of sugar and additives for the children.  We have mains water for squash and this is readily available to the children during the sessions.  We also do not recommend bottled water as the packaging (i.e. plastic bottle) is very negative for the environment particularly when mains water is available.  Alcohol (e.g. wine, beer or otherwise for adults) is not advisable on any occasion due to health and safety risks during the session. 

Tea ad coffee is available for most sessions. 

Can parents / adults stay?

For Birthday Parties, at least one parent / guardian of the birthday child is required to stay with the group, who takes overall responsibility for the well being and welfare of each and every child within the group.  Other parents are welcome to stay or go.  However, if parents stay they are encouraged to actively join in!  This is much more fun for the children and in fact normally much more fun for the adults!  This is an opportunity for having real fun with your kids, playing together in the outdoors!

For Holiday Clubs, Saturday Morning Clubs and similar it is more usual for children to be dropped off for the session and parents pick up at the end of the session.  However, parents that would like to stay are welcome, provided they actively join in with the activities and also proactively support the philosophy of giving the children heaps of freedom to play, explore and get muddy!  A part of this philosophy includes the avoidance of the word 'no' as much as possible!  Kids need to hear the word 'yes' to enable them the freedom to take more responsibility, to manage their own risks and to gain more confidence in leading their activities and building creative minds.

For schools / groups: It is the responsibility of the school / group to provide adequate adult:child ratios in order to control the group in terms of instructions and safety rules (both written and verbal).  It is the responsibility of the school / group to carry out adequate checks on all staff and volunteers including gaining of clear Enhanced CRB disclosures prior to attending the session.  It is the responsibility of the school / group to ensure the welfare and well being of their group, including all individuals, at all times. All school / group staff and volunteers have the authority to stop activities at any time.

Payment and cancellation policy?

Payment can be made for many of our sessions through PayPal (using major credit cards, debit cards or a Paypal account).  If you would like more information or have any more specific questions please contact us.

For Birthday Parties, you will need to make a non-refundable deposit payment of £50 to secure the slot.  At least one week (7 days) prior to the party you will need to confirm numbers (and details of any specific dietary needs or accessibility needs).  At this point the final payment is due and is non-refundable.

If you need to reschedule your party we will try to accommodate the change by helping you to find an alternative slot, however slots are normally highly booked in advance so options close to the date may be very limited.

During extreme weather conditions e.g. high winds Woodland Adventurers may decide to cancel the slot due to safety reasons.  If this happens, we will contact you to reschedule the party.

For all other sessions (e.g. Holiday Clubs, Home Education Forest School sessions, Parent and Toddler sessions etc), full payment is required in advance, prior to the event unless agreed otherwise in writing by Woodland Adventurers.

For schools, pre-schools and groups, full payment is due in advance, prior to the event or in the case of a number of sessions full payment is due in advance of the first date for the agreed number of sessions (e.g. term) unless confirmed otherwise in writing by Woodland Adventurers.

All payments are non-refundable unless sufficient notice is provided and we have been able to rebook the respective time slot. 

What happens in bad weather?

Woodland Adventurers plans to go ahead with activities in most general weather conditions throughout the seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter (in weathers such as sun, cloud, rain, snow, sleet).  

In the majority of circumstances, it is possible to ensure correct clothing is worn and measures are taken so that activities can go-ahead without discomfort and without weather associated risks to individuals. 

For parents:  It is essential that children wear the appropriate clothing.  This means consideration to providing your child with lots of layers for warmth e.g. thermals, t-shirts, jumper/fleece and coat (note:  it is easy to remove layers if too hot, but it is important to not get cold), sturdy shoes (e.g. trainers or hiking boots), waterproofs in the rain, wellie boots for farm animal feeding, thermal gloves, hats for warmth in cold weather and hats for sun protection (together with high UV protection sun cream).

Woodland Adventurers may change activities, or relocate activities, as a result of weather conditions. 

Consideration will be given to extremes of weather as follows:

- Rain. snow and sleet combined with cooler temperatures - ensure appropriate clothing (multiple layers) and more active, physical activities to stay warm such as hiking, walking, running

- High winds - consider relocating activities to an area away from overhanging trees / structures

- High temperatures - consideration to be given to ensure regular hydration, use of hats and UV protective sun creams

- Lightning and thunder storms - consider relocating to less exposed areas and away from single high points where direct electrical discharge (lightning) would be more likely

In certain circumstances activities may be cancelled or postponed.